17 year old Ceres, a beautiful, poor girl in the Empire city of Delos, lives the harsh and unforgiving life of a commoner. By day she delivers her father’s forged weapons to the palace training grounds, and by night she secretly trains with them, yearning to be a warrior in a land where girls are forbidden to fight. With her pending sale to slavehood, she is desperate.
18 year old Prince Thanos despises everything his royal family stands for. He abhors their harsh treatment of the masses, especially the brutal competition—The Killings—that lies at the heart of the city. He yearns to break free from the restraints of his upbringing, yet he, a fine warrior, sees no way out.
As a fan of Morgan Rice, I was excited to start Slave, Warrior, Queen. The story takes off with a running start, as we are instantly thrown into the brutal world Rice has created. Delos, is certainly a place none would chose to be born to, the guards can beat or kill any they choose, as is made clear within the first chapter when a young boy is held and beaten within an inch of his life because he stole an apple.
This act of brutality takes place while Ceres is making her way to an exciting event – The Killings. Yep, this threw me too at first. How could Ceres be so disgusted with the treatment of the thieving child, yet be excited to attend the Killings?
Ceres views those participating in the Killings as being something to aspire to be, the Combat Lords are respected, envied by Ceres for their chance at valour and respect. This was the only thing I found hard to believe throughout the book. Even when Ceres herself is made a weapons master for the prince Thanos, did her opinion of the Combat Lords remain unchanged. She even displays distaste for those she believes do not deserve to be made a part of the Killings.
The novel is told from a few points of view, each easily distinguishable within the first sentence, rather than making the change too obvious by starting the chapter off with the POV’s name. I liked reading from Thanos POV most of all, I felt his view of the world he was a part of was exceptionally well written and like each reader, we all find our own favourites, he was simply mine.
I did feel that there was no real ending to this book. I reached the end and felt as if I had reached the end of a chapter not the end of the novel. This being a series I was immediately compelled to buy the next book, so I guess the desired effect was achieved, however, a simple epilogue would have sufficed to quench my thirst for an ending and still leave me wanting more.
I give Slave, Warrior, Queen 4 stars.
It lost half a star for the lack of ending and another half for the title. Though it is catchy, crisp and original, I feel like it is slightly misleading, Cares begins a slave of sorts, progresses to a warrior, but not to a Queen. The Queen plays a small role in this novel, not one that I felt deserved to be in the title. Rebel might have made a more accurate word choice.
I hope you go and check out Slave, Warrior, Queen, you will be cheering for Rice’s characters at every turn of the page, but be warned, Rice is not afraid to kill off the ones you love.
Rebecca Bosevski is the author of Enchanting the Fey – a fairytale for grownups. It can be purchased here.